Reporter beaten by police while investigating police violence in Kenya

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the beating that Standard Media Group reporter Isaiah Gwengi received from a special border police unit in the western town of Usenge yesterday and calls for an investigation into this unacceptable act of police brutality. After arresting Gwengi, members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) stripped him naked and gave him a severe beating, inflicting injuries to his head and parts of his body, and confiscated his phone and SIM cards. Gwengi was arrested together with human rights activist Rodgers Ochieng while interviewing Usenge residents who have been…Read more

After two-year trial, Ugandan journalists acquitted of criminal defamation

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has acquitted four journalists of criminal defamation and convicted the source of defamatory information. Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of New Vision, and Benon Tugumiisirize and Ronald Nahabwe – formerly of Red Pepper – were found not “criminally liable” for what was published and had no intention to defame the complainants. However, the court found the provider of the information, Ssegawa Tamale, guilty. He will be sentenced on 17 March 2017 at 2:00 P.M “I am convinced by the evidence of A2…Read more

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

"This Commonwealth Day, a baton will set out from Buckingham Palace and begin a long and extraordinary journey. Over the next twelve months, the Baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean. Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, The Queen’s Baton will have brought together through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens. Contained within the Baton…Read more

Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017

On Monday 13 March, schools and communities in 52 countries will mark Commonwealth Day 2017. This year, the annual celebration of the Commonwealth’s shared values is themed ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’. Highlights include: The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey at 1445GMT The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay launch at Buckingham Palace at 1130GMT A new Commonwealth Peace in the Home initiative to tackle domestic violence The Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will lead festivities with a special message issued to the two and a half billion people…Read more

Awaiting justice for Ugandan journalist Andrew Lwanga

This statement was originally published by Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda on 9 March 2017. It was 12 January 2015 when WBS Television journalist Andrew Lwanga – who was covering a peaceful procession by a group of unemployed youth along Namirembe Road in Kampala – met his unfortunate fate. Lwanga was brutally assaulted by a senior police officer – the then District Police Commander (DPC) of Old Kampala, Joram Mwesigye. Lwanga was rushed to hospital in a critical and life-threatening condition. On 13 of January 2015 a group of journalists – led…Read more

Fiji urged to abandon outdated sedition laws

Judicial partners should encourage the Fiji prosecution office to pull back from sedition charges against the country's leading newspaper, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Fiji's judiciary is again out of step with the rest of the region", says PFF Chair Monica Miller, speaking from American Samoa. "Colleagues from around the region need to extend what they've learn from many millions in aid spent on improving judicial services." Incitement Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, was this week given 21 days leave by the Fiji High Court to consider whether or not existing charges of…Read more

Maldives journalists receive death threats

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) strongly condemn the death threat to some journalists and express concern over 'protective custody' of journalists on the island of Nilandhoo, Faafu Atoll. The IFJ urges the Maldivian government to investigate the death threats and ensure safety of the targeted journalists and create a conducive environment to safely report on issues of national interest. Raajje Television reported death threats against its staff to the Maldives Police Service (MPS) on Thursday, March 2, 2017, after the station received phone calls threatening to…Read more

Kenya’s High Court declares criminal defamation unconstitutional

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision today by Kenya's High Court declaring Section 194 of the Penal Code, which creates the offence of criminal defamation, unconstitutional. ARTICLE 19, alongside Jaqueline Okuta and Jackson Njeru, petitioned the High Court in Nairobi that the provision was a disproportionate and unjustifiable limitation of freedom of expression. Jaqueline and Jackson had been charged under the section for publishing posts about a prominent Kenyan lawyer on a consumer protection Facebook page called 'Buyer Beware'. Jackson is an administrator of the page. Justice JM Mativo declared that Section 194 of…Read more

Zambia moves forward with Access to Information bill

MISA MISA Zambia welcomes the pronouncement by Justice Minister Given Lubinda at the 2017 Universal Periodic Review that the Access to Information bill is ready and that the government is working on systems that will readily avail the information to the public. The enactment of the ATI bill is long overdue as it has stalled since 2002 when it was presented to parliament, with successive governments-including the PF government in 2011, making vain promises which have not come to fruition. The announcement made by the Justice Minister is a positive step and MISA…Read more

Bangladeshi journalist fatally shot covering street battles

Committee to Protect Journalists Bangladeshi authorities should vigorously investigate and bring to justice those responsible for killing Abdul Hakim Shimul, a journalist for the daily Samakal newspaper, who died today from gunshot wounds sustained while covering political unrest yesterday, according to news reports. Violence broke out yesterday between rival factions of the ruling Awami League, namely supporters of the mayor of the northern Bangladeshi city of Shahjadpur and his opponents from another faction of the party, according to news reports. Some 15 people were injured in the fighting. Shimul was shot in the head and face while…Read more